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It's surprising how much of Just Cause 2's scenery is destructible, and although there aren't Mercenaries, Red Faction or Bad Company levels of devastation on show, for a game of JC2's sheer scale, there's more than a fair share of stuff to break...
While some locations are somewhat deserted, awaiting later mission objectives to kick in before activity commences, there's still plenty to discover, whether it's the Cape Carnival rocket launchpad or a party boat suspended from two rather suggestive-looking Zeppelins, hundreds of feet above the sea. Combine the main story-driven components, the numerous collectibles, hundreds of vehicles and literally thousands of opportunities to wreak chaos destroying Panau's propaganda and military presence, and you have an open-world game that has enormous potential, which shouldn't be underestimated.
This could be just the explosion-filled ticket many have been itching for, and could become the most fun weíve ever had playing games.
So Mike, can you give us any information about the Just Cause 2 demo? What kind of things will you be able to do?
The demo will give you a pretty good snapshot of what the final game has to offer. So in terms of Rico's abilities and the crazy stunts he can pull off - it's all in there. There's also one whole multi-stage faction mission for you to try, a race challenge and ample opportunities to cause chaos at pretty much every turn. There's a good mix of vehicles, everything from tuk tuks to planes, helicopters to jeeps, military and civilian. We really want you to play it again and again, to try out as much as you can. If you don't fancy tackling the mission for example, don't. See if we care. You'll easily find something else to keep you occupied.
That sounds pretty cool! So is it true that the demo will literally be one big sandbox? How much freedom do we get in terms of exploration?
That's exactly right. One BIG sandbox. It's approximately 35 square miles of sandy desert, featuring towns and settlements, military bases, runways (and planes) and plenty more. In terms of freedom, it's really up to you, but we've certainly included more than enough to play with.
And how does the Just Cause 2 demo compare to the full game?
As I said before all of Rico's abilities are in there, so you can try out pretty much anything you want. The main difference is the real game will feature more of everything - different climate zones, weather and times of day, a load more vehicles, missions and of course... water.
It's recently been mentioned that there will be a few surprises for PC users. Would you be able to tell us more about that?
I can't just yet I'm afraid. But very soon I promise! What I can say is what I've said before, Just Cause 2 on the PC is absolutely not a port of the console version - and you'll see a whole bunch of enhancements that reflect that. We're DX10 all the way, using all we can to get the most out of the game on higher spec systems. Though you can of course use an Xbox pad, I actually really like playing the game with mouse and keyboard.
Ok, sounds promising. Let's move onto DLC. How will the DLC work in terms of pre-ordering it from Steam or someone buying the Limited Edition in the shops and redeeming them?
We've not announced any pre-order incentives yet for those purchasing the game through Steam, but if you buy a boxed copy from the shops you'll obviously get whichever pre-order bonus that retailer has. All DLC will be redeemable via Steam for PC users.
While we're on the subject of DLC, can you tell us anything about the sort of items we can expect to see in future or is it still pretty hush hush?
Nope. But those outside of North America looking at the Monster Truck with green eyes needn't worry. It'll be available everywhere at some point. It's important to us to keep the playing field level, so all DLC released will ultimately be available in all territories for purchase later down the line.
So, Basejumping. What is the current base jumping record in the office and how was it achieved?
Huge. It's mine, and if I told you how I did it you'd just go and beat it wouldn't you? I think Iíll just let you find out on JustCause.com when the game stats and leaderboards section unlock at launch.
Haha. So, whatís the coolest thing youíve ever done in Just Cause 2?
That's a tough one as something cool happens every time you play! I've certainly had some pretty narrow escapes over time, that's for sure. There's something about playing as Rico (with his grapple and parachute) that makes you want to see how far you can push your luck. That's how I tend to play... dangerously. :)
Top tip: Look out for stray gas canisters. You really don't want to get hit by one from a distance in the thick of a firefight.
Do you not get sick of playing Just Cause 2 hours on end? How many hours have you played it now?
Not at all. For me, most of the fun of Just Cause 2 is just being in the world. I know we say so much about how it's one giant playground, but it's true, there's always so much to be done even (and sometimes especially) if you're not completing missions -be that searching out all of the collectibles, completing settlements or just mindlessly racing sports cars down the sides of mountains. It's stunning to look at too, so it's a nice place to relax in between creating chaos. Much like in real life, no two sunsets are ever quite the same and it's easy to get lost in the views Panau has to offer. It's difficult to put an exact figure on how many hours i've spent playing the game now throughout development, but I'd guess at easily somewhere in the region of 400.
Wow! That's impressive! So with the release being so close to easter, what kind of Easter eggs can we expect to find?
I'm not going to ruin any of these for you, but needless to say there are plenty of little secrets hidden around the island. Some useful, some useless, but all good fun. Maybe we'll check in on this a little after launch to see what's been discovered. I'll give a few hints then.
Ok, so last couple of questions then. Itís getting pretty close to release now. What kind of stuff can we expect to see within the next couple of weeks prior to launch?
We've still quite a bit to come before launch. Our recent Anatomy of a Stunt series still has plenty of videos left, getting more and more crazy as they go on. We've also got Vlogs, more podcasts and new community focused functionality hitting JustCause.com
So we've got a lot to look forward to then by the sounds of it!
Oh, and just for the sake of asking it because I know it's on everybody's mind right now, when can we expect the demo??
Hehe. Very soon. (Sorry!!) Before launch for sure.
Well thanks again for your time. Itís been a pleasure speaking with you again.
It was my pleasure!
There are scores of bad guys baying for blood. One of the buggers has a grenade - he's an explosives expert, and harder to kill than the others. What do we do? We land the grapple hook in the git's chest. He throws a grenade. Somehow - and this is purely accidental, although we'd love to say it's down to pure skill - we manage to tether the grenade spammer to his own grenade. He flies forward, landing face first right next to the small explosive device. We run for cover. Boom! Cue spraying blood and our eyes popping out of our head.
Now we're in the chopper; hold the right trigger to ascend, left trigger to descend. RB and LB fires a mini-gun. Panau is now our bitch, and this gunship is our whip. Cue ten explosions in 20 seconds and our eyes popping out of our head.
Now, it's going to blow. We need to get out of there quick. We look up - it's going to take too long to grapple our way to the top. What do we do? Gas canisters - every game has them - are propped up against a wall. We grapple one, landing feet first on the "nose" of the cylinder. Then, we land a single bullet. As the gas escapes, we brace ourselves. Boom! The canister fires up into the air like a rocket heading into space, and we're riding it like a heavily-armed space monkey. We reach the top, leap off the canister, fire the grapple hook into the nearest wall, and feel the tower explode behind our back. Cue fist pumping and our eyes popping out of our head.
Just Cause 2 certainly appears to have filled all the gaps left in the original, offering players plenty to do, a range of factions to interact with, and innumerable gameplay opportunities to stretch Avalanche's open-world to its limits. The visuals are top-notch for the genre as well, making Just Cause 2 a strong nominee for best-of-the-rest in the sandbox gaming stakes.
PC owners will be given their own special treat too, although they'll have to keep their ears open as Square Enix is remaining tight-lipped for now as to what the surprise is.